SEATTLE @ GREEN BAY – NFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW (SUN. JAN. 12/2020)
CAN HOUDINI PULL OFF ANOTHER PLAYOFF UPSET IN THE FROZEN TUNDRA IN GREEN BAY?
VEGAS BETTING ODDS: GREEN BAY PACKERS (-4) vs. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS ~ TOTAL: (45 1/2)
OK folks it’s always a treat two watch two Magician QB’s who are simply human highlight films and Sunday’s final NFL Playoff 8 game pits the Houdini Russ Wilson and the Ice Water in his Veins Aaron Rodgers. These two will face off against each other for the eight time with Wilson up on Rodgers 4-3, but all 4 wins were in Seattle as Wilson is 0-3 at Green Bay. Seattle is also 0-8 at Green Bay and 0-2 in Playoff games at Lambeau Field. Last week Seattle beat Philly 17-9, but you have to wonder if outcome is same if Eagles QB Wentz isn’t knocked out early. Seattle to me was weakest team entering Playoffs except for the Eagles as the Seahawks for most part need Houdini type stuff from Wilson to pull off wins as they by far now have lightest talent left in these Playoffs. They are besieged by injuries and the OL could possibly be without 3 starters there. Wilson was sacked 48x this season and will have his hands full Sunday night vs. one of the best pass rushing teams in Green Bay.
Let’s start with Seattle who have been true Road Warriors this season winning 8 of it’s 9 games played on the Road. Only once did they win by over one full score, but winning on the Road in the NFL is no easy task. They won twice over Playoff Philly and even beat #1 San Fran as well on the Road. Except for the two games they scored only 17 vs. Philly, the Seahawks Offense wasn’t taken aback by the Road crowd, scoring 28, 27, 27, 27, 32, 30, and 27 in wins. They laid an egg once getting completely shut down by the Rams 28-12. The Seahawks finished 4th rushing the ball, but that was with two studs Carson and Penny. Now they have a new acquired Beast Mode Lynch and a rarely heard of T. Homer. Last week the guys rushing the ball vs. Eagles not named Wilson (45 rush yards) ran the ball 19x for just 17 yards. Wilson is Houdini but they do that again and this is BLOWOUT CITY. Seattle simply hasn’t been good on Defense all year and although they have two of the best Defensive Players in all of the NFL, B. Wagner and KJ Wright, the rest of the Defense simply is below average. Their top 2 DE’s Clowney and Ansah were limited all week in practice and they must not only have both play, but likely have both play a monster game to beat Rodgers on his home turf. I am not sure they do much even if they do play.
Green Bay at Home this season has gone 7-1, losing only to Philly 34-27. They did struggle to pull away from teams though at Home winning by only 5, 1, 8, 5 and 8 with two solid big wins by 11 and 18 points. They faced only 2 Playoff teams winning by going 1-1 with win by 5 points and loss by 7 points. Amazingly what once was a Higher Scoring Offense, the Packers played 7 Unders their last 8 games overall this regular season. They were a pretty solid (5-3) ATS. Green Bay has kinda amazingly defied the Stats as both the Offense and Defense finished in the lower half of all teams, both of them finished at #18, and I’d love to know one person who would’ve said they still go to the Playoffs this season with rankings that low on both sides of the ball. What’s actually funny is they passed for 233 yards per game and allowed the exact same number on Defense vs. the Pass. The Packers Defense allowed 30 completions of 20+ yards for a total of 1,o81 total yards. But they made the big plays when they needed to that sealed a ton of close wins. Green Bay has started fast all season, scoring 108 points in the first quarter and allowing only 49 points. When stud RB A. Jones rushed for 100+ yards this season they are a perfect (5-0). Many call Green Bay not a good team this year even with their solid 13-3 record, but they are 8-1 in one score games and that is 1000000% sign of a really good team.
KEY TO GAME 1:
Seattle QB Wilson when under pressure this season connected for just (4.8) yards per pass attempt (4th worst in entire NFL). Now he faces a strong Packers Pass Rush that had a mighty 48 Sacks this season and was at 33% (best in NFL). Wilson’s best pass plays all seem to come via Scramble mode, but without a full normal starting OL and now a strong Rush attack, it will become much tougher for him to make plays if GB gets big pressure with only 4 rushers leaving 7 in the back to cover the wide outs. If Seattle runs as poorly as last week, Wilson may get sacked 5x. I give decent edge in Seattle WR’s Metcalf and Lockett (I really love both guys) facing a really big test vs. two really under rated cover guys in GB’s King and Alexander (love love this kid). In fact these two have 32 passes defended and 7 Interceptions combined. I am always amazed how Lockett gets so wide open, but I just don’t see that happening too often on Sunday night. Hence the Seahawks must run the ball well as it’s likely they will be forced to grind long drives without getting that crushing HOLDING call, killing drives. I’d expect Seattle to have at least 4 Holding calls this week. It’s going to be “ALL IN” with Seattle taking deep shots and hitting 3 or 4 bombs that keep them in this game til 4th quarter.
Green Bay had a new HC and totally new Offensive scheme and I don’t care who your QB is, even he must take some time to learn the new Offense. But not many people will tell you what (well WHO) changed the Packers season. It was a bench playing wide receiver named Allen Lazard. He came in when the Packers were in really bad place at WR spot and he stepped up many times with gigantic big catches and is now a Rodgers favorite. I think though the KEY is WR D. Adams who had only 5 TD’s and although he just fell shy 1,000 receiving yards (997), he didn’t seem to be the solid #1 guy we would’ve expected for a 13-3 team. As I wrote earlier the Packers win when stud RB Jones gets his 100 (Seattle Defense is #26 vs. run). If he can help keep the extra blitzer or 5th pass rusher from just teeing off trying to get to Rodgers with some big runs, well then it’s going to be a long day for a really average to poor Seattle Defense (6th worst in NFL).
1). Green Bay’s QB Aaron Rodgers is (6-1) in his 7 Divisional (Final 8) games at Lambeau Field passing for 1,819 yards (303 passing yard per game average) and 14 TD passes and only 4 Interceptions. These are the games he lives for and he is just so much better at Home.
2). SEATTLE: (0-8) in Postseason in the Divisional Round on the Road.
SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE ON 3RD AND 4TH DOWN PLAYS:
Seattle’s Defense on 3rd and 4th down combined of 2 yards or less has allowed a whopping 67% first down completion percentage. But GB Offense is just 54% in that same category. We saw how the Ravens imploded twice on 4th and less than one yard and that was the game in a nutshell. The Titans won that game with really those two monumental stops and Seattle on Road may need a few of these as well.
1). In the 2015 Title game between these two teams, Seattle won a thriller 28-22 in Overtime.
I think this game will be decided by how well Seattle does vs. Rodgers when he goes Play Action Passing. He’s been so good at that department (8.3 yards this year per pass attempt) and so this is the most important spot for Seattle I feel to stay in this game. Seattle must get constant pressure to on Rodgers who was sacked 36x this year. Problem for the Seahawks is Rodgers was sacked only 12x at Home, compared to 24x on the Road. I was stunned how bad the Run Game was for Seattle last week and just don’t see it improving that much this week. Lynch signing was a bust as he’s been non existent since joining the team a few weeks ago. For Seattle to pull this Upset off it’s all up to Houdini Wilson. You will pull your hair out betting against Wilson as his scrambles are some of best of all time when it looks like a play is doomed. You can definitely discount his nice second half heroics a few weeks ago against the Niners, as you can see what a gigantic difference SF is with the 3 missing studs who missed that game (Tartt, Alexander and Ford). Green Bay isn’t missing any studs on Defense and once again this ain’t Philly they are facing that had no offensive receiving threats (Ertz was less then half healthy) and GB has weapons to take advantage of a very weak Seattle Defense. Green Bay is the better team and will prevail due to less injuries and simply put a legendary QB (Rodgers) at Home where he is just so smooth and calm and he catches Wilson at a time when he simply doesn’t have the pieces to pull a second straight Road Playoff win.
Have a great Sunday and enjoy these two games and may all your Wagers be WINNING ones!
PS- If you bet the Vikings and QB Kirk “DEER IN HEADLIGHTS” Cousins vs. the Niners, you may want to consider quitting betting. Cousins “You Like That” after one win in 16 big game tries proved you don’t know Rule 1 of being a Top Winning Bettor. When you get that excited because you won one lousy game (and for most part the Saints lost that game more than the Vikings won that game) you are clearly a Joke and a Loser overall. Acting like he just won Super Bowl last week was laughable. Once again Kirk shit the bed as he looked scared as he always is in the Bigger games. Cousins can’t read Defenses and when pressured is not even a top 20 QB. He will never win in this league and now the Vikings just found out what Redskins fans already knew. Guy is a stat padder, many when way down, terrible on Road and just abominable over his career when the game has any big meaning and the stakes are super high. If you bet him today, you clearly did it solely off last week’s win, the worst way to ever make a bet the following week. He’s the Madoff of the NFL and he is quietly laughing at home tonight (Sat Night) with his wife how he stole hundreds of millions without ever being a big winner when the spotlight was on. If the Vikings were smart they’d try to package Cousins and Diggs now and start rebuilding.